To me, it’s a magical journey that allows me to meet inspiring, selfless people that I know are so hard to find in this world that is uncaring and selfish. It allows me to experience things that I know I’d never get to experience in this lifetime, like meeting fantasy creatures and strange beings, both good and bad. For two hours or more, I get to time travel back in time or into the future, or travel into a different dimension where ghosts, fairies, superheroes, creatures from the underworld, talking animals and toys co-exist. It’s also a mirror of what happens in real life. Where stories do not end in happy endings. Where impossible things become possible.
I’ve seen a lot of wonderful, great movies. And I only say that a movie is great when it is able to inspire me. It doesn’t have to win an award to be great. As long as that movie had a profound effect on me, whether it’s a horror movie, a comedy, or a kung-fu, and I couldn’t get it over with, then that’s the time I say that the movie is great.
I know there are still a lot of movies that I have yet to see that could possibly be more fantastic or captivating than these ones in my list (and I hope to discover them soon) but the movies I share here touched my heart in such a very personal way that it is only right that I get to pay tribute to each one of them by compiling them here and calling them here as “My list of favorite movies.”
Directed by Randal Kleiser
Trivia: For a time, it was the third highest-grossing movie of all time behind only Jaws and Star Wars.
Starring: Robby Benson, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Colleen Dewhurst, Tom Skerritt
Directed by Donald Wrye
Trivia: Lynn-Holly Johnson says she was repeatedly pressured to do a nude scene in this film, which she refused to do. She says this incident makes her laugh and say “if you only knew!” whenever someone tells her what a great family film this movie was.
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton
Directed by James Cameron
Trivia: Sigourney Weaver had initially been very hesitant to reprise her role as Ripley, and had rejected numerous offers from Fox Studios to do any sequels, fearing that her character would be poorly written, and a sub-par sequel could hurt the legacy of Alien. However, she was so impressed by the high quality of James Cameron’s script – specifically, the strong focus on Ripley, the mother-daughter bond between her character and Newt, and the incredible precision with which Cameron wrote her character, that she finally agreed to do the film.
Starring: Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, Josh Charles
Directed by Peter Weir
Trivia: The movie’s line “Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” was voted as the #95 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Mena Suvari, Chris Cooper
Directed by Sam Mendes
Trivia: The title of the film refers to a breed of roses that while pretty and appealing in appearance, is often prone to rot underneath at the roots and branches of the plant. Thus, the tagline “…look closer” tells the viewer that when they look beyond the “perfect suburban life” they will find something rancid at the root.
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Trivia: It took Clint Eastwood several years to actually get round to reading the script as his script reader had initially told him that it wasn’t very good.
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson, Selma Blair
Directed by Robert Luketic
Trivia: To prepare for her role as Elle, Reese Witherspoon spent two weeks studying the behavior of sorority girls, as she did not wish to portray a stereotypical airhead sorority image. She states on the DVD commentary that they were all very kind and polite, and she enjoyed her time with them. She also observed women shopping from the café at Neiman Marcus, and attended law school for a day.
Starring: Jim Carrey, Jennifer Aniston, Morgan Freeman
Directed by Tom Shadyac
Trivia: This film has been officially banned in Egypt for “sacrilegious content”.
Directed by Mark Waters
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Mark Ruffalo
Trivia: When Elizabeth asks David who about the girl that Daryl told him he had to let go of, David responds that her name was Laura. Reese Witherspoon’s full name is Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon.
Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Directed by Frank Darabont
Starring: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman
Trivia: Stephen King sold the rights to the movie very cheaply out of his friendship with Frank Darabont. They had originally become friends when Darabont adapted a short story of King’s called “The Woman in the Room” (King has a policy stating that any aspiring filmmaker can adapt his short stories for a buck) and King was thoroughly impressed. They maintained a pen pal relationship and didn’t actually meet until Darabont optioned Shawshank.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd
Trivia: Ranked #10 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest films in the genre “Sci-Fi” in June 2008.
Directed by Ron Underwood
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Charles Grodin, Alfre Woodard, Kyra Sedgwick, Tom Sizemore
Trivia: Julia’s letter to John reads as follows: “John, There was so much I wanted to say to you tonight, but everything I said somehow came out all wrong. I am coming home because I want to be with you. I hope you’ll give me another chance. Whatever happens, please know I will love you always. Julia”
Directed by Robert Redford
Starring: Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch, Timothy Hutton
Trivia: Timothy Hutton’s father, actor Jim Hutton, passed away prior to filming. Hutton has said that he did not use his mourning as a basis for Conrad’s depression. Also, actress Mary Tyler Moore’s son Richie Moore committed suicide in the same year of the film’s production whilst Moore herself separated from her husband producer Grant Tinker during filming.
Directed by Frank Capra
Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore
Trivia: Frank Capra often said that this was his favorite of all his films.
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Starring: Takashi Shimura, Shin’ichi Himori, Haruo Tanaka
Trivia: The literal translation of Ikiru is “To Live”.
Directed by Joe Wright
Starring: Keira Knightly, Matthew Macfadyen
Trivia: Joe Wright was not initially keen on Keira Knightly playing Elizabeth, believing her to be too attractive. He changed his mind upon meeting her, deciding her tomboyish attitude would be perfect for the part.
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes
Trivia: Steven Spielberg was not paid for this film. He refused to accept a salary citing that it would be “blood money”.
Directed by James Mangold
Starring: Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Whoopi Goldberg
Trivia: This is one of many roles in which Winona Ryder’s character writes in a diary.
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette
Trivia: Toni Collette has said that she was so moved by the emotional resonance of the story whilst filming, she didn’t even realize it was a horror film until after its release.
Directed by Gary Ross
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Reese Witherspoon, Joan Allen, William H. Macy
Trivia: The two books that Bud (David) narrates to the teenagers of Pleasantville, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “Catcher in the Rye,” are the two most widely banned books in the United States.
Directed by Stephen Chow
Starring: Stephen Chow, Xiaogang Feng, Wah Yuen, Chi Chung Lam, Qiu Yuen
Trivia: As of 2005, this film had the widest cinematic release in the USA of a foreign language film.
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, John C. Reilly, Tom Cruise
Trivia: Aimee Mann’s music inspired Paul Thomas Anderson to write the script and at least one lyric (and possibly more) from an Aimee Mann song was lifted and used as dialogue. In the song “Deathly” the lyric goes: “Now that I’ve met you / Would you object to / Never seeing / Each other again”. In the film, Melora Walter’s character says “Now that I’ve met you, would you object to never seeing me again?”
Directed by John Lasseter, Ash Brannon, Lee Unkrich
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen
Trivia: Toy Story 3 is the only Toy Story film not to receive a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It still however received a relatively high score of 99%.
Directed by Wayne Wang
Starring: Ming-Na Wen, Tamlyn Tomita, Lauren Tom, Rosalind Chao
Trivia: Based on the novel by Amy Tan.
Directed by Peter Segal
Starring: Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler
Trivia: Originally entitled “50 First Kisses” but changed to avoid confusion with Drew Barrymore’s vehicle Never Been Kissed.
Directed by Sharon Maguire
Starring: Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant
Trivia: To prepare for the role, Renee Zellweger gained 25 pounds, and then actually worked at a British publishing company for a month in preparation for the role. She adopted an alias as well as her posh accent and was apparently not recognized. On her desk in this office she kept a framed picture of then boyfriend Jim Carrey. Workers who did not recognize her found this to be odd, but never mentioned it to her for fear of embarrassing her.
Directed by Mike Judge
Starring: Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, David Herman, Ajay Naidu, Gary Cole
Trivia: Jennifer Aniston’s character is named Joanna, which is Aniston’s own middle name.
Directed by Ken Kwapis
Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Drew Barrymore, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly
Trivia: Jennifer Aniston has 20 minutes screen time in this film, Jennifer Connelly has 25 minutes.
Directed by Jerry Zucker
Starring: Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg
Trivia: When it came time to cast the film, writer Bruce Joel Rubin suggested Patrick Swayze for the role of Sam Wheat. Director Jerry Zucker felt that Swayze was completely wrong for the part. Many actors that included Paul Hogan (who instead made Almost an Angel), Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Mel Gibson, Dennis Quaid, Bruce Willis (Demi Moore’s husband at the time, who didn’t think the film would work), John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Mickey Rourke, David Duchovny, Johnny Depp, Kevin Costner and Alex Baldwin were all offered the part but all turned it down feeling that playing a ghost would be cheesy. Zucker then decided to audition Swayze though he thought he would blow the audition. To Zucker’s surprise, Swayze did a great audition and he was cast immediately in the part.
Directed by Tom Hooper
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway
Trivia: Typically, the soundtrack for a movie musical is recorded several months in advance and the actors mime to playback during filming. However, on this film, every single song was recorded live on set to capture the spontaneity of the performances. Everyone involved, from Hugh Jackman to Russell Crowe to producer Cameron Mackintosh, have praised this approach as it allowed them to concentrate on their acting as opposed to lip-syncing properly. They have also praised director Tom Hooper for attempting this on such a scale; something no director has ever done before.
Note: Thanks to IMDb.com for all the movie info.